Event review

Capita's Housing Conference 2017: The review

Capita entertained, informed and inspired and over 200 delegates again in another exciting annual housing conference, held at the Mercure Piccadilly Hotel in Manchester. Delegates were treated to a wondrous night to remember, followed by a busy day of talks, sessions and networking. The day was packed full – including a thought provoking speech by Anthony Lilley OBE, inspiring technological innovation and a glimpse into the future of housing with Stewart Davison, a variety of interactive exhibition stands to visit, and a host of breakout sessions to choose between. 

A magical and hysterical evening

Capita’s Housing Conference 2017 kicked off in style in Manchester’s Mercure Piccadilly Hotel with a drinks reception, where spirits were high and old and new faces enjoyed the fabulous networking opportunity. Delegates were then seated in the beautifully decorated banquet hall where they enjoyed a delicious three course meal. Following dinner Michelle Tyler, Capita’s Housing Director, welcomed Pete Firman onto the stage, who proceeded to wow his audience with his magic, whilst making them howl with laughter. He even braved involving the audience in his act by getting delegates up on stage, who still could not understand how he managed what he did even up close! 

View from Twitter

Tony Ruddick @tonyruddick Oct 11
Great start to the #capitahousing17 with @petefirman mortified I ended up on stage. 

If you want to know more about Pete Firman’s hilarious and mesmerising act you can visit his website www.petefirman.co.uk 

After more networking, and some impressive moves on the dance floor, everyone retired to their rooms for some much-needed sleep, ready for the full day ahead!

View from Twitter

Karen at Yarlington @KarenYarlington Oct 11
Magical opening to the #CapitaHousing17 conf with the incredible @petefirman 

Digitally mindful

The next morning delegates filled up on breakfast then mingled in our exhibition space, where more sweet treats lay, whilst exploring the exhibition stands from our sponsors. They then filled back into the main room, where Michelle Tyler welcomed all and whetted appetites for what was to come. 

Anthony Lilley OBE got minds whirring next with a thought provoking speech on digital mindfulness. He explained we are now living in a Post-Digital age – where digital is past being new and special, into something which is a part of our daily lives. We now have so much available to us on demand, which has become an assumption and expectation with how we live our lives. Technology is everywhere, it is portable and personal, and developing tremendously. The future of self-driving cars and robots is around the corner; and available data has exploded. Anthony commented on how the advancement of technology has changed our attention span, and given us new problems to deal with. Whilst there are lots of exciting things happening in the field of technology, the focus of Anthony’s talk was on being digitally mindful, and the importance of having an awareness of the human component of technological change, and being socially mindful of what the change means. Great food for thought, Anthony Lilley’s keynote speech started off the day in a refreshing way. 

View from Twitter

Craig Jones @jonah571 Oct 12
Thought provoking talk from @AnthonyLilley #capitahousing17 #digitalmindfulness 

The future of housing technology?

Next up was a session on Innovation by Stewart Davison, Capita’s Head of Business Development, who considered the advancement in technology and resulting data we’re giving out to companies, and how this relates to housing. Stewart considered the potential for voice technology, especially for vulnerable tenants and sheltered housing, as well as chat bots, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. With digital mindfulness fresh in our minds Stewart noted that whilst we want to drive people to the digital channel, it is important to consider what works best for your tenant demographics, to use the best language appropriate to the audience, and to get people engaged with the technologies they are already using. There is real potential for new technologies within housing, which is not only exciting but looks to offer improved services and real cost savings. 

Views from Twitter

Neil Bancroft @BancroftNeil Oct 12
Thought provoking presentations on digital innovation in Housing at the Capita Conference today #capitahousing17 
Tony Smith ACIH @HousingITguy Oct 12
Always good to hear Stewart Davidson talk how clever tech can improve #ukhousing even for #DigitalMongrels @ #capitahousing17 

Payment options

Before lunch beckoned there was a run through of what Pay360 can offer, by James Pickering. Pay360 offers multiple ways for customers to pay their housing associations – most currently have Direct Debit in place, however with changing technologies and customer expectations people tend to use cards more and want alternative payment methods. Pay360 offer Direct Debit as well as mobile payments, branded online payments, telephone and automated telephone, over the counter and via self-service kiosks, as well as offering stored and recurring card payment plans for customers. 

Exhibition and a competition…

Next came lunch in the restaurant, followed by a delicious array of desserts and fruit in the exhibition area, giving delegates a chance to visit any stands they had not yet managed to see. Cadcorp, Kirona, Pay360 by Capita and Progress Software had stands here, a particular hit was Progress Software’s robot racing competition, the winner of which won an iPad! There was even a mini drone flying around the room, lest anyone forgot they were at a technology conference! 

Choices, choices!

After lunch it was time for the first of the breakout sessions – with a choice between Building Information Modelling, Customer Engagement – digital solutions to engage with your customers, Private Works – a sneak preview of the new module which supports the expansion of providing support and repairs services to non-tenants, and GDPR – the essential guide for housing providers, by Bevan Brittan LLP. 

The Customer Engagement session looked at Social Media Analysis. Capita is working with Barrachd, providing technology which enables housing associations to understand what customers might be discussing about housing on social media, and interpreting big data. The module pulls in data from Barrachd into OPEN’s Media Inbox – saving Twitter records in the OPENHousing contact’s record, enabling staff to escalate and create a case if required, and respond via a variety of media. There is also a web chat module, allowing operators to have multiple conversations at the same time, utilising pre-written responses and being more efficient than receiving phone calls. 

Next was the second round of breakout sessions – this time options were Business Intelligence – Arrears Profiler Plus, Compliance – GDPR, Leveraging technology innovation to deliver on the promise of digital transformation by Progress Software, Introducing people-powered placemaking by Spacehive and Mobile Savings and Productivity by Totalmobile – a fantastic range of sessions. 

In the Business Intelligence session, Cartrefi Conwy spoke of the success they have had with their go-live this year. The Arrears Profiler Plus module evolved as Capita and Cartrefi Conwy worked together and realised potential uses for available rental credit data. The module now ties up information and allows housing associations to have a good indication of a tenant’s financial circumstances, via a variety of available reports, graphs and data. 

Other sessions were equally well received, particularly the busy GDPR session with the data protection changes just around the corner. 

View from Twitter

Robert Hulbert @BobHulbert Oct 12
#capitahousing17 good talk on GDPR new software options, looking good. 

Last but not least

Ending the day was a business update from Capita’s Housing Team, where they introduced One, the new home for local government and social housing software. By bringing our local government software under one umbrella, Capita will be able to provide local authorities and social housing providers with a more holistic view of their communities and help connect the dots, ensuring they make better informed decision and provide the right support to their communities. 

And that marked the end of a jam-packed day! It was then refreshments and sweet treats for the road, and delegates were on their way, mulling over the sessions and wondering what lies ahead for next year! 

View from Twitter

Tony Smith ACIH @HousingITguy Oct 14
Replying to @capitahousing
Another interesting and thought provoking conference, cannot wait until #CapitaHousing18 

Capita would like to thank all the delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors who continue to make the housing conference a success each year. 

Further information

Contact us to find out more about any of the products or case studies showcased at this year’s event.